Staff Attorney Rabya Khan Meets with High School Regarding Anti-Muslim Worksheets

By Ben Small, Communications Intern

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CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney Rabya Khan met with officials at a Chicago-area high school on Monday, August 15th, regarding a complaint CAIR-Chicago received by a parent alleging that the high school’s social studies class is distributing misleading worksheets on Islam. The worksheets in question, produced by a California based educational resource company, teaches students that the religion of Islam is oppressive towards women, inherently violent, and played an important role in harboring slavery.

One of the readings contains verses from the Quran which are quoted out-of-context wrongly giving the impression that women are considered inferior to men. A corresponding worksheet then asks: “The Qur’an stresses the equality of all believers. Yet many say its views about men and women definitely give men more power. How does the top passage here from the Qu’ran support this view?” The reading is accompanied by a photo of two women in burqa, a full-body covering worn by only a minority of Muslim women worldwide. The inauthentic translation, imagery, and presentation of information leads students to a biased conclusion about the status of men and women in Islam.

Another reading implies that slavery was an encouraged practice in Islam, and then the corresponding worksheet states “Slavery was common in Islam; however, it took several very different forms. […] Prepare a brief talk to the class on what you learn about these two forms of slavery. Title your talk, “Slavery’s Many Forms in the Islamic World.”” Wrongly suggesting some sort of link between slavery and Islam. In reality, the Qu’ran strongly condemned slavery and offered enticing rewards to those who freed slaves. Prophet Muhammad himself freed numerous slaves and the situation for slaves greatly improved with the advent of Islam.

In the textbook “The Rise of the Modern Middle East”, lesson titles include “Islam and Islamic Radicalism”. The parent who brought these reading materials to CAIR-Chicago’s attention expressed concern that that over emphasis on the small number of radical Muslims in the world will reinforce stereotypes that link Islam and terrorism and that students will not receive a balanced understanding of Islam and Muslims.

Rabya Khan met with school officials to convey the importance of presenting balanced perspectives and not perpetuating stereotypes. CAIR-Chicago has requested that the school remove the worksheets, and not use them again or any similar worksheets. Rabya also provided a resource list of organizations that can conduct workshops on Islam, including CAIR-Chicago, and is compiling a list of educational resource companies with balanced materials on Islam and Muslims.

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5 Responses to “Staff Attorney Rabya Khan Meets with High School Regarding Anti-Muslim Worksheets”

  1. Pat M says:

    Please explain to me why we are teaching children about any religion in school at all since we stopped allowed prayer and any other sign of Christianity. Why is Islam any different from the primary religion of American and why must children be taught only the “good” of Islam? How can we spend so much time on this religion when in the books, there are only 16 pages about beliefs and the rest is a political system. In fact, Italy doesn’t even recognize it as a religion; they classify it as a political system.

  2. Carol says:

    Why does this even need to be taught in American Schools anyway if these children want to learn about this there are other ways this not important as reading spelling and math I just don’t get this at all and that is a fact.

  3. j. green says:

    Telling the truth to your students is a brave and commendable thing to do. Keep up the good work and prepare your students properly for the real world.

  4. Nadiyah Shaheed says:

    Many thanks to CAIR’s efforts in righting the misconceptions and illegalities that are becoming increasingly present as we American Muslims are being stigmatized. I tell my children when they are faced with anger and hate simply because of their religion to respond that KKK and slaveowners touted their actions were condoned under Christianity and the Bible, but we know that to be false and don’t denounce the whole of Christianity or stereotype Christians for over 400 years of attrocities committed under the guise of following that religion. The same can be said of “so-called” Muslims, who are really terrorists and acting contrary to Islam and the Quran. Those fringe extremists shouldn’t be considered as reflecting the ideals of Muslims/Islam.

  5. Janice Burch says:

    Good for you. It’s nice to know that someone is still willing to teach the truth even if it goes against the grain. i.e. CAIR or whomever it would be.
    Keep up the good work and maybe some of our kids will know the truth.

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